THE LAW WAS THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD
Consider this: the kind of covenant the Law presents is actually a covenant that was common to the other nations. Remember that when the Exodus event happens, God says that he wants them to be a holy nation and ALL be priests unto God. But instead they refused and said, “Moses you go up there on the mountain instead.”
This is exactly what we find in Deuteronomy, a copy of the world’s practice! These are just like the one’s Egypt used. But what they didn’t bargain for is that one of the problems with this kind of treaty, when it relates to God, is that instead of some national false god being responsible for enforcing the covenant blessings and curses, it placed Yahweh as both the king and the God to enforce it, thereby, by their own invitation making God the author of wrath based on the covenant stipulations.
God intended for them to commune with him personally and know his voice and have a relationship, but instead THEY are the ones who wanted a sacrificial system, and Law! The Law was never the image of God, only Christ is!
I love what it says in Isaiah 59:2, “Your sins have separated you from your God.” It doesn’t say that their sins separated God from them, but it pushed them away from God. Separation was always an illusion.
Again, it was Samuel that wept because Israel wanted a king like the other nations and it was God who said, “They have not rejected you, they have rejected me” (1 Sam. 8:7). Because he wanted to be their king, God never intended to give them an earthly king. But God gave them what they wanted, all the while the blindness and distortion continues.
When Christ comes, he comes to rectify the earthly king mentality. Under the new covenant he returns to the original intention of God being their king on a spiritual throne, not an earthly one. In the very first sermon of Peter at Pentecost, he makes the point that the throne of David was the same as the throne in heaven, as Christ redeems the earthly concept and transforms it back into the heavenly one. Hebrews 1 says that throne is in heaven.
Ultimately Paul teaches us that it was God who gave the Law to them so that they would come to the end of themselves. But he also taught that as the Law was coming to its conclusion it was the Law that brought wrath, (Romans 4:15). That wrath was simply allowing them to experience the fruit of their own actions (Romans 1:18-32). Romans 1 in particular says that they exchanged the knowledge of God for an idolatrous view of God. Giving them over, was the ultimate statement that under Law to give people what they wanted was to end up in their own destruction.
JESUS IS THE REVELATION OF GOD.
John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Not Adam. Not Elijah. Not Moses. Not Abraham. Not one single prophet had a full, true accurate revelation of who the Father was. Not a single one. Only Jesus is the revelation of the Father. That is why he said in John 14:9,“Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
The Law was not a revelation of God, it was a revelation of sin (Romans 3:19-20). Only Jesus is a revelation of the Father. We are not being conformed to the image of the Law, but the image of Christ.
Did you notice that Jesus said, “you have heard it said, but I say to you…”? Don’t his words supersede the Law? Did you notice Jesus forgiving people before the asked (Matthew 9) or Peter being restored without ever once having Peter confess his failure, or ask forgiveness? Or did you see how Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength was the fulfillment of the Law, and then in the upper room as he teaches what the new covenant would look like he says “a NEW commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”? The word for new is kainos meaning a brand new way of doing things. The new is utterly unlike the old in every way!
WHY THE JUDGMENT PASSAGES AFTER THE CROSS?
The difficulty that some have is that there are still promises of judgment and wrath after the cross and resurrection. If you look closely you will see that they are all quotes from the Law itself (Hebrews 10:30; Deuteronomy 32:35-36). What some don’t realize is that the Law, though made obsolete, was now fading away (Hebrews 8:13). It wasn’t completely fulfilled yet because there were unfulfilled promises to Israel which would all be finished and fulfilled by AD 70 (Luke 21:20-22, Matthew 5:17-18).
That transitional period is confusing for us because we read the Bible as if it were written to us. It was written to THAT generation and generally speaking to a Jewish audience. Gentiles were of course coming in, but until the temple, the priesthood, the sacrificial system, and the earthly city were judged and removed according to the Law and prophets, then it remained as two covenants sort of competing with one another.
I realize that it is very frustrating for some to be confronted with the God of the gospel who is in a good mood, instead of the one they have created, like Israel, from their own minds. But it is actually the testimony of scripture itself, and the message to which their generation and ours need to return. More societal conflict, governmental wars and relational damage is done in the name of the “bible” as “Law” than we can imagine. The Church has to get this right!
So what is “sin” in the New Covenant since we are being conformed to the image of Christ instead of the image of the Law? Essentially there is only one. It is unbelief. Unbelief is the root of everything contrary to the image of Christ. It is unbelief in a loving Father who forgave our sins 2000 years ago before we asked. It is unbelief in the love of God for humanity. It is unbelief in the truth that Christ has redeemed humanity through his death burial and resurrection. That is what the Holy Spirit convicts of in the New Covenant (John 16:8-11). That is what the Spirit is grieved about when we don’t embrace and accept our redemption. It is rejecting our sonship and hardening our hearts to grace.
More importantly the question is, who is God? By the testimony of scripture, God IS LOVE. And what will happen if you believe that? You will become what you receive.
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